The iPad as a gaming platform

I’m not a heavy gamer on iOS devices.  I will admit to having downloaded several free games, and even a few paid ones for my iPhone/iPad, I don’t spend any extended time gaming on them.  Despite reports of the iPod Touch being a serious, competitive threat to other portable gaming consoles, the platform never held much draw for me.  Actually, portable gaming itself doesn’t interest me all that much.  Chalk it down to having been spoiled by playing Call of Duty on a 100″ screen in 1080p.

There are, however, a few games I think the iPad does well with bringing into the 21st century.  The first is Scrabble.  It works best if played in “Party Mode” with iPhones or iPod Touches as companion devices. These act as your tile-rack, while the iPad is the Scrabble board.  The “board” auto-rotates to face the player whose turn it is.  The tile-racks have an integrated dictionary so it’s easy to check words before playing them.  And of course, score is kept automatically.  The game does need all devices to be connected to the same WiFi network, and does suffer from frequent dropped connections if the device screens are allowed to shut off. But these minor gripes aside, playing Scrabble on such a platform is incredibly entertaining and fun for a group of players. The iPad portion of the app costs $10 and the tile-rack app for the iPhone/iPod touch is free.

The other game where the iPad works well as a platform is Pictionary. Reva & I had a few friends over for dinner last night and the conversation soon turned to the iPad, when then turned to Scrabble.  But since we didn’t have enough iDevices to go around, we thought we’d try and play Pictionary on it.  I have a sketching app on it, but it is not optimised for the game. A quick search of the  App Store showed no results for an official Pictionary app, but a substitute with pretty decent reviews (and a light version) is Sketch n’ Guess. The full version is only $1.99, so after a quick go at the light version, I purchased it. We had a great time drawing on it and guessing the words. Some drawings (and guesses) were definitely better than others 🙂  I think Hasbro/Mattel is missing a trick here by not developing an official Pictionary app for the iPad.  If it is as  good as their Scrabble app, I’m sure people would pay at least $5 for it.

**Note: the Scrabble app for the iPad is officially made and distributed by Electronic Arts